Since the Second World War the church's history has undergone a profound change. After a long period in which the gospel had been embedded in a Western European context, it must now be seen in a pluralist setting, and the full implications of its claims to universality have emerged. This change is likely to be as significant as the first major change in Christian history, when the church developed from being a Jewish community to an institution in the Hellenistic world. What does that mean for the mission and the pastoral life of the church? Christians, especially Roman Catholics, from the Third World are well aware of the problems that have arisen. Solving them cannot just be an administrative matter. There is a need to go right back to the roots of missionary work. Hence the importance of this new book, strangely enough the only one of its kind. It considers the traditions and dynamics that shaped Israel's consciousness of its destiny in relation to the Gentiles and which ultimately led Christians to proclaim the gospel to Gentiles.
After this survey of biblical evidence a final chapter summarizes the results and considers implications for contemporary theology and church life, and the relationship of Christianity to other religions.